The aim of meat inspection is to ensure that meat intended for consumption, and products containing meat, are safe and faultless in terms of food hygiene quality. Meat inspection ensures that the animal is not ill or infected by any parasites, and that it has not been medicated in a way which renders the meat unsuitable for food purposes. Food hygiene quality refers to properties related to the cleanness of meat and meat products, as well as microbiological and organoleptic properties, including firmness. It also covers the question of whether the meat is watery; its odour, taste and colour properties and degree of acidity; as well as the existence of any contaminants and parasites.
Meat of domestic and wild animals intended for general consumption must be inspected. Meat inspection involves an ante mortem inspection, performed on a live animal before it is slaughtered, and a post mortem inspection afterwards. Meat inspection is performed by a veterinary inspector of Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, a Regional State Administrative Agency or municipality. The animals are slaughtered and meat inspected at an approved slaughterhouse, slaughter facility for reindeer, or small-scale slaughterhouse. Wild game can also be inspected at a game processing facility or a location approved by the municipal veterinarian for the slaughter of wild game. The Åland Government is responsible for the supervision of slaughterhouses located in the Åland Islands.
In recent years, approximately 300,000 bovines, 2.5 million pigs, 55 million birds classified as poultry, 1,000 horses and 30,000 sheep and goats have been inspected in Finland every year. Almost 80,000 specimens of reindeer have been slaughtered while the number for other species, including wild game and game on farms, is less than 1,000 animals per year.